In Messina, from June 13th to 15th, the 24th International Congress “Actions for a Sustainable World” took place. From Theory to Practice was the subtitle of the Congress, held by the International Sustainable Development Research Society, in collaboration with the University of Messina.
A conference fueled by numerous contributions from academics, policy-makers, businesses and qualified key-note speakers, coming from the most disparate points of the globe.
Prof. Roberta Salomone, Chair of the Conference, warmly welcomed the participants and illustrated in detail all the solutions adopted by the Organizing Committee to set up a sustainable event. A concrete example of how the solutions verified on the scientific level can be translated on a practical level.
Dr. Walter Vermeulen, President of ISDRS, summarized the principles that inspire the research and awareness-raising activities of the scientific society and listed the positive results achieved, without concealing the intellectual and applicative challenges that still await answers. In the connection between international scientists, he outlined the method for improving acquisitions.
Preceded by the appointment of the Italian LCA Network, the conference has fostered the convergence of various approaches based on the theme of sustainability of development: the Life Cycle Assessment and those of different schools, from the natural sciences to the social ones.
We meet Prof. Riccardo Beltramo at Caselle airport, to comment on the Messina experience.
“For us it was a moment of updating and verification of the results of projects and environmental education activities carried out over the last thirty years. The first formalization at international level of our involvement in the LCA dates back to the SETAC Conference – Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ed.), held in Brussels in 1995, where we presented a work, with Dr. Maurizio Fieschi and Dr. Ugo Pretato entitled Disposal of Car Tires with Energy Recovery. The LCA methodology, which translates the Life Cycle Thinking approach in quantitative terms, has “shot” in the background of various researches, in particular those on sustainable tourism. Even our participation in the LCA Summer Schools, organized first by the Colleges of the University of Lecce and then of Messina, has allowed us to progress in knowledge.”
Prof. Beltramo continues:
“The first impression is that today the number of those who cultivate this perspective and measure themselves with the methodological aspects has been enlarged, proposing also innovative solutions to overcome the gaps that persist. If we observe that even the architects have approached the LCA, it means that the work done by the international community to raise awareness on the need for holistic and scientific approaches has paid off! Of course, every scientific community contributes, bringing its own knowledge and also its limits. This circumstance can be seen as a risk of increasing indeterminacy, widening doubts indefinitely, but also as an opportunity to identify new and effective solutions, integrating knowledge. The most significant fact, in our opinion, consists of a generalized adoption of Life Cycle Thinking, that is, a perspective that opens spaces of mediation between creativity and scientific method, looking for a great one.”
What was the proposal you presented in Messina?
“Team Scatol8 presented a work that fully focused on the title of the conference: From Theory To Practice. Our project is also a product: Sustainable product design through Life Cycle Assessment: the S8-Vela environmental monitoring system. The theoretical disquisitions certainly stimulate intellectual speculations, but they are not very useful if they do not translate into operational tools, to be disseminated in the world, through companies and products that incorporate sustainability requirements. Our proposal of Integrated Design Thinking is the S8-Vela project, which obtained the CE mark and that has been built in compliance with environmental constraints. For its implementation, I have set up a procedure that involves various integrated phases: Ideation, Choice of materials, Procurement, Implementation, Distribution, Use, Maintenance. The “glue” is constituted by the verification, with LCA techniques, of the identified solutions iteratively led to a final configuration, which has been realized, that is the best from an environmental, economic and social point of view. Renewable raw materials (chestnut wood), natural dyes based on chestnut tannin, Italian companies, local supply chains. However, the work to be done is still a lot, in terms of supply chain organization and optimization of management aspects. Those who have boarded on Scatol8’s Team must begin to row vigorously.”
And he concludes: “The conference in Messina was a special occasion to meet those who cultivate similar interests to ours and has opened possibilities to strengthen the national network and expand the international one, in short, a successful story, for which we congratulate with Prof. Roberta Salomone and the colleagues of the Messina office! “